Prior to approval of a final account, a conservator may only disburse or expend pursuant to a court order authorizing expenditures or disbursements. Such an order is obtained by filing a petition with the Court for such authority pursuant to Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 334. Otherwise, a conservator should wait until approval of the final account to make final distribution of the deceased ward’s assets.
Intervention Proceedings (INT/IDD) FAQs
Yes; write P. Allen Butler, III, Auditing Branch Manager or Herbert Files, Supervisory Auditor and request an expedited audit of the account. Reasons for the expedited request must be provided.
The conservator must be present while the appraisal is being done. If the conservator will not be available, the conservator must write the Court appraiser, designating the person who will be present and including the case number and name. That person must be present while the appraisal is being done.
The average appraisal takes 2 to 3 hours. If there are more items than usual, it takes longer.
File a motion for an extension of time to comply with the audit requirements and a proposed order, stating the reason why an extension is requested with the Auditing Branch.
Unless the order appointing the conservator in an INT or IDD case restricts spending in some way, Court approval is not required before expenditures are made unless the expenditure is a fee to the guardian, conservator, or counsel. All expenditures are, however, subject to proper accounting. Receipts, bills, cancelled checks, and bank statements must be filed with the annual account in support of all expenditures. In CON cases (those filed prior to September 30, 1989), Court approval is required before expenditures can be made.
Accounts must be filed no later than thirty days after the anniversary date of the appointment of the conservator or successor conservator once each year. A final account must be filed no later than 60 days after the date of death of the ward. See Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 330.
The inventory must be filed no later than 90 days from the date of the order appointing the conservator or successor conservator.
Approximately one week after the appraisal.
File a petition for release of funds held in the estate deposit account and order. If the Court grants the motion, go to the Probate Clerk’s Office on the third floor at 515 5th Street, NW, with a copy of the order and identification and contact information. A check will be mailed from the Court’s Budget and Finance Division after the paperwork is processed.
In an intervention proceeding, file a petition post appointment to deposit funds into the estate deposit account and proposed order. In a decedent’s estate, file a petition to deposit funds into the estate deposit account and proposed order. If the Court grants the motion, go to the Probate Clerk’s Office, Room 314,at 515 5th Street, NW, with a copy of the order and a check made payable to the Register of Wills for no less than the amount of money that the order states is to be deposited.
File a Petition Post Appointment to Terminate Conservatorship of Deceased Ward in compliance with the requirements of Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 334, an account titled “Final” and ending on the date of death, and a final Conservator’s Report within 60 days of the ward’s death. Upon hearing and approval of the final account, the Court will issue an order of termination directing any appropriate conditions for termination of the conservatorship.
If the ward has died, file a Suggestion of Death, notifying the Court of the ward’s death. Then file a final Report of Guardian within 60 days of the filing of the Suggestion of Death. After the final Report of Guardian is filed, the Court will enter an order terminating the guardianship.
If a ward has died, a Notice of Death should be filed as soon as possible to alert the Court and other interested persons. A final Report of Guardian must then be filed within 60 days. If you have already reported the ward’s date of death in the final guardianship report, a Suggestion of Death is still required to ensure proper docketing of the ward’s date of death by Court staff.
In intervention cases in which the ward has died, a conservator has up to 60 days to file a final receipt of distribution.
A conservator is someone who is appointed by the Court in response to the filing of a petition for a general proceeding to handle income or assets of the ward for the support, care, and welfare of the ward so that they will not be wasted or dissipated.
A guardian ad litem helps the subject determine the subject’s interests in regard to the petition for a general proceeding. If the subject is unconscious or otherwise wholly incapable of determining his or her interests even with assistance, the guardian ad litem makes that determination. The need for such an appointment depends upon the circumstances of the case, and appointment of a guardian ad litem is not requested very often.
A guardian is someone who is appointed by the Court in response to the filing of a petition for a general proceeding to make health care, quality of life, placement (housing), and legal decisions for an incapacitated individual who is eighteen or older.
The petitioner is the person who files the petition for a general proceeding seeking appointment of a guardian and/or conservator for the subject.
A subject is the person who is alleged to be incapacitated.
An examiner is an individual who has training or experience in the diagnosis, care, or treatment of the causes and conditions giving rise to incapacity. Sometimes, the examiner is the physician of the subject. Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 326 states the duties of an examiner.
CON is a conservatorship case. Such cases were opened prior to September 30, 1989 for the appointment of a conservator of the property of an incapacitated adult and, sometimes, the conservator of the person of an incapacitated adult. Such cases are now opened as INT or IDD cases.
When a petition for a general proceeding is filed, the law in the District of Columbia requires that the Court appoint an attorney to represent the subject. The Court does not appoint an attorney for the petitioner, and the Court-appointed counsel does not represent the petitioner.
A general guardian has full legal power to handle all medical, legal, and residency matters on behalf of a ward for the ward’s lifetime or until the guardian resigns or is removed by the Court. A limited guardian can only handle specific medical care or legal issues as directed by the Court.
According to DC Code, sec. 19-1502, a disclaimer is the refusal to accept an interest in or power over property. It is a document that allows a person who inherits an interest in a trust or estate to disclaim that interest. The effect of a disclaimer is that it extinguishes the interest of the person who disclaimed as if it had never existed and the interest passes to the person who would have received it if the person who disclaimed had never existed.
Yes, the rate is usually $45 per hour when the Court grants such petitions for compensation from the Guardianship Fund. If the individual has specific qualifications or specialized training that justify a higher rate of compensation, those qualifications or the specialized training should be explained in detail in the petition for compensation. Note that requests for compensation for a person functioning as second chair are not likely to be approved.
Yes, a family member who is a guardian and/or conservator can file a petition for compensation. In general, the Court will consider fees claimed for fiduciary decision-making, administrative advocacy, or supervision of other care providers if they are reasonable; however, the Court has not been awarding fees for personal services provided by a family member, such as bathing, combing hair, feeding, caring for the ward’s pet, and other similar services.
The threshold date for payment of fees is the date of the guardian’s and/or conservator’s appointment.
Sullivan v. DC, 829 A.2d 221 (DC 2003), pages 228-229
In accordance with Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 308, both are entitled to reasonable compensation for services rendered. A fee petition must be filed.
Yes, if the Court finds the Petition for a General Proceeding to be meritorious and approves the request. The request must be approved by the Court before the fees are reimbursed. Failure to obtain prior Court approval could result in removal. It is recommended that a petition for compensation completed by counsel accompany any petition for approval of such an expenditure.
In re Randolph Brevard, Sr., 2011 INT 44, 8-5-11 order; In re Leon M. Stanard, 2011 INT 20, May 26, 2011 order
Yes, if you file a petition for reimbursement, and the expenses are approved by the Court.
Yes, the Court may, in its discretion, approve compensation for mileage within the Washington, DC, Metropolitan area if the claim is reasonable. Travel time and mileage must be detailed separately in the petition for compensation and cannot be included in the service rendered at the destination. The date, time, distance traveled, location, and the purpose of the travel must be stated. The Court rate for mileage is currently 51 cents per mile, the rate paid to attorneys on the CCAN and CJA panels.
Travel time and mileage to and from Court is not compensated in accordance with the practice in CCAN and CJA cases.
See In re Brenda J. Wilson and In re Irene Mason, 139 WLR 2753 (DC Superior Court, December 27, 2011); In re Alice Bush, 2008 INT 286, 2-3-12 order; In re Fred T. Darson, 2011 INT 328, 1-12-12 order; In re Robert Washington, 2008 INT 79, 1-12-12 order; In re Ruby McDougald, 2008 INT 63, 1-12-12 order
Yes, the Court may, in its discretion, approve compensation for ordinary travel time within the Washington, DC, Metropolitan area if the claim is reasonable. Travel time must be detailed separately in the petition for compensation and cannot be included in the service rendered at the destination. The date, time, distance traveled, location, and the purpose of the travel must be stated. Travel time must be in tenths of an hour. Travel time from an office outside the Washington, DC, Metropolitan area may not be compensable.
No. If an attorney is retained by a petitioner and the petitioner pays the attorney with petitioner’s own funds, no petition for compensation is necessary.
In re Grealis, In re Irma Sams, In re Mary Nazarczuk, 902 A.2d 821; 2006 DC App. LEXIS 414, 03-PR-963, 03-PR-965, 04-PR-169, DCC.A., 7-13-06 (2002 INT 359, 2002 INT 225, 1999 INT 205)
Shortly after receipt of an order awarding payment of compensation or fees from the Guardianship Fund, you may track the status of the payment by logging onto the DC Court Web Voucher System
If a party thinks that the compensation requested is too high, the hourly rate charged is excessive under the circumstances, or charges are included for services not performed, an Objection (Exception) to Fee Petition may be filed.
There is no form for this pleading for most requests for compensation due to the specific requirements that pertain to the role of the petitioner. However, there is a Petition for Compensation of Visitor or Examiner, and detailed information about what needs to be contained in a petition requesting compensation is in included in Superior Court, Probate DivisionRule 308.
A petition requesting compensation from the Guardianship Fund must be filed to obtain a court order authorizing such compensation.
Petitions for compensation are generally considered by the Court within 60 days of filing.
Call the Auditing Branch Deputy Clerk at (202) 879-9419, and explain the situation. Do not call the Budget and Finance Division.
Yes, if the doctor or social worker is seeking payment from the subject’s assets or the guardianship fund. See Petition for Compensation of Visitor or Examiner.
After a court order is issued approving the petition for compensation, payment is effected in collaboration with the Budget & Finance Division.
The estate assets, if sufficient, or the Guardianship Fund, if the ward’s assets would otherwise be depleted. In rare cases, the Court has awarded fees from a third-party petitioner when a petitioner has failed to follow through after filing an intervention petition.
Henok Araya v. Aida Keleta and Frances Hom, 24 A.2d 665; 2011 DC App. LEXIS 466; 09-PR-1561, DCC.A., 7-14-11 (2009 INT 261)
DC Code, sec.
The petition should describe the services provided, state the amount requested, be supported by a detailed statement of services, the dates provided, and the time that each service took (rounded to no more than a tenth of an hour), and be accompanied by a proposed order with envelopes or mailing labels for every involved party. Refer to Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 308 for specific additional details regarding filing requirements and to Estate of Torchiana, 121 WLR 2477 (Super. Ct. 1993).
It is a fund of money established by the District of Columbia for payment for services rendered on behalf of persons whose funds would be depleted by payment of fees. See DC Code, sec. 21-2060
For attorneys serving as a guardian, conservator, special conservator, guardian ad litem or visitothe current hourly rate is up to $90.00 per hour.For participants in the Non-Lawyer Pilot Program serving as a guardian, conservator or special conservator, the current hourly rate is up to $80.00 per hour.For other non-attorneys appointed by the court to serve as guardian, conservator or special conservator, the rate is generally determined by the Court, which could be based upon a customary employed hourly rate of the fiduciary, but not to exceed the cap prescribed for payment from the Guardi
DC Code, sec 21-2060 and Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 308 contain more specific information.
After a court order authorizing payment from the Guardianship Fund has been issued, payment is made by the General Services Administration. The Budget and Finance Division requires every participant in the Guardianship Fund program to complete a Request to Establish Vendor File. This request form must be mailed or returned by hand to 616 H Street, NW, Suite 600.19, Washington, DC 20001. Faxed copies will not be accepted, and the form must have an original signature or it will not be processed. A Direct Deposit form can be completed at the same time.
A fee petition for a guardian should be filed no later than 30 days from the anniversary date of the guardian’s appointment. For example, if you were appointed on March 1, the fee petition should be filed every year on or before April 1. The final fee petition should be filed no later than 60 days after termination of the guardianship. A fee petition for a conservator should be filed either with the annual account or at any time before approval of an annual account that has already been filed.
Unless the fee petition is filed with an account, it will generally be decided by the Court within 60 days. A fee petition that is filed with an account is forwarded to Court when the account has been audited and is ready for Court approval.
DC Code, sec. 21-2060 and Superior Court Probate Rule 308
The decision whether to award payment from the Guardianship Fund and how much to award is made by a judge? See In re Ruth M. Tolliver-Woody, 1999 INT 257, 6-11-12 order, in which the Court applies a percentage reduction to a fee request.
A visitor, an attorney, an examiner, a conservator, a special conservator, a guardian ad litem, or a guardian in an intervention (INT or IDD) case involving an incapacitated adult may be paid from the Guardianship Fund if the court so orders. Money from the Guardianship Fund is not available in decedent’s estates (ADM), guardianships of the estates of minors (GDN), former law conservatorships (CON), and trusts (TRP).
Generally, the petition should be filed in the jurisdiction in which the person lives.
The Court may waive appointment of an examiner when a report has been submitted in writing to the Court regarding the condition of the allegedly incapacitated individual. If no report is submitted, the court will appoint an examiner.
No; however, the filing of a petition for appointment of a guardian and/or conservator begins a contested legal proceeding (i.e., the person who files the petition bears the burden of proving the incapacity of the subject at a hearing in Court at which evidence can be presented, witnesses can testify and be cross-examined, and legal arguments can be made). Counsel will be appointed to represent the interests of the subject. Counsel is not appointed to represent the petitioner.
Yes. If counsel appointed for the subject believes that it is not advisable for the subject to attend for any reason (such as health issues), counsel can ask the Court to excuse the subject’s appearance by filing a motion to excuse the subject’s or ward’s appearance prior to the hearing. Only the Judge may excuse the subject from the initial hearing.
For life-threatening emergencies or situations involving emergency health care, file a petition for the appointment of a temporary 21-day emergency guardian. This type of petition is referred the day that it is filed to the emergency Judge-in-Chambers at the Court for hearing.
If there is no life-threatening emergency or the situation does not involve emergency health care, the appointment of a 90-day health care guardian may be requested instead. Such petitions are also referred the day of filing to the emergency Judge-in-Chambers.
File either a petition for a general proceeding or, in an emergency situation, a petition for appointment of an emergency guardian to begin an intervention case and obtain a hearing. The two Notice of Initial Hearing forms must be included with the petition for general proceeding, as is required by Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 325.
A person becomes a conservator when the Court appoints a conservator in response to the filing of a petition for a general proceeding, medical evidence, and all attachments.
A person becomes a guardian when the Court appoints that person guardian in response to the filing a petition for a general proceeding.
If the Court has already issued orders appointing counsel or any other participants, file a motion to withdraw. If no orders have been issued, a petition for a general proceeding can be withdrawn by praecipe.
Email the DC Courts Webmaster at webmaster [at] dcsc.gov.
No. However, a conservator must file an inventory and annual accounts, so if the ward has few or no assets, a conservatorship may not be needed or appropriate.
The Probate Division can provide information but not legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney of your choosing who regularly practices in the Probate Division. Assistance is available to specialized communities from (1) Legal Counsel for the Elderly - 434-2120, (2) Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia - 628-1161, (3) Neighborhood Legal Services - 269-5100 and 678-2000, (4) University Legal Services - 547-0198, and (5) the Probate Resource Center, a project of the DC Bar Pro Bono Program.
1.Complete the forms online, and print them out to file.
2.Write or visit:
Probate Clerk’s Office, Room 314
515 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Yes. A form titled Statement of Claim Pursuant to Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 307 is available on this website.
Sometimes, the existence of a power of attorney is pertinent to an intervention proceeding. The Court may accept a power of attorney under certain circumstances and for limited purposes. Consult counsel of your choosing for advice regarding this issue.
The Court cannot provide any advice relating to obtaining or executing a power of attorney. Consult counsel of your choosing.
File a Petition Post Appointment for removal of the conservator in accordance with Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 322. Be specific regarding the reasons for removal of the conservator, and be prepared to appear at a hearing to present your view.
File a Petition Post Appointment in accordance with Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 322 asking the Court to decide what should be done.
File a Petition Post Appointment to remove a guardian. Be specific regarding the reasons for removal. A hearing will be held. The Judge will consider the contents of the petition and the evidence presented at the hearing and decide whether to remove the guardian and whether a successor guardian should be appointed. The successor may be the petitioner, a relative or friend of the ward, or an attorney from the Court’s fiduciary panel.
Discovery in intervention cases occurs only with the Court’s permission. File a motion requesting permission to issue a subpoena that includes a description of the information that you are seeking and a proposed order. If the Court grants the motion, counsel can issue the subpoena. Persons who are not represented by counsel must come to the Probate Division, Probate Clerk’s Office with 3 copies of a completed subpoena form and a copy of the Court order authorizing issuance of the subpoena so that the subpoena can be issued.
Yes. A response to a petition for general proceeding may be filed up to five days before the general proceeding and should list any objections for the Judge to consider at the hearing.
A certificate of service informs the Court that a copy of the document that is being presented for filing has been mailed to all parties. (See above for an explanation of who is a party.) The date that the copy was mailed to each party and the name and complete mailing address of each party must be included in the certificate of service. Many of the forms on this website contain a certificate of service that can be used or used as an example.
The parties in an intervention proceeding include the subject of the proceeding, any guardian or conservator, the person filing the petition to initiate the intervention proceeding, and a creditor filing a petition to determine claim.
No, the Judge to whom a report is forwarded cannot be selected by anyone. Each Report of Guardian will be forwarded to the Judge assigned to that particular ward’s intervention case.
In accordance with the law in the District of Columbia, a guardian may establish a residence for the ward outside the District of Columbia.
The Probate staff is available to take the oath required on the petition for a general proceeding or the Report of Guardian.
Although the Report of Guardian can be handwritten, guardians are strongly advised to use the interactive form on the website to type the report and print it out for filing. If the Report of Guardian form is typed or saved to a personal computer, it can be updated with any changes every six months, printed, and filed.
Letters of conservatorship and orders terminating conservatorships must be filed or recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds so that notice of the transfer of title is on file. There is a fee associated with this filing.
A small bank account held on the ward’s behalf may be listed on the Report of Guardian in paragraph 22. The Court determines what qualifies as "small."
Contact the DC Office of Aging and Disability Resource Center at (202) 724-5626 for a list of available day programs in the DC area for an elderly or disabled ward. The Court’s Guardianship Assistance Program at (202) 879-9407 may also be able to provide guidance and assistance.
After a guardian or conservator has been appointed by the Court, a Petition Post Appointment may be filed to request Court action concerning an issue that arises in the intervention proceeding. A notice called Notice of Right to Respond and/or Request an Oral Hearing must be mailed to all parties with the Petition Post Appointment.
Take the Letters of conservatorship, your identification, and the ward’s Social Security number to a District of Columbia bank that is conveniently located. Open a bank account that is titled in the name of the subject and yourself as conservator. Usually, this is a checking account that returns checks and provides monthly bank statements because bank statements and canceled checks are needed to prepare the annual account and copies must be presented with the account.
If a ward has assets consisting of less than the Medicaid resource and income limits, apply for Medicaid, also known as DC medical assistance. Once the ward is found to be eligible, Medicaid will pay the difference between any income that the ward has and the nursing home bill, less a small monthly personal needs allowance for the ward.
Consult counsel for advice and direction. Among the possibilities are a petition for rule to show cause for possession in accordance with Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 313 in the Probate Division, a lawsuit for possession in Landlord Tenant Court, or a complaint to the Metropolitan Police Department.
File a Petition Post Appointment to Terminate Conservatorship, a Preliminary Order of Termination, an Order Appointing Counsel, and a Notice of Hearing on Subsequent Petition, in compliance with Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 334. After a hearing, the Court will issue a preliminary order of termination, direct the filing of a final account and report within 60 days, and appoint a successor. Upon approval of the final account, the Court will enter a final order of termination.
File a Petition Post Appointment to resign. The Court will hold a hearing to determine whether to terminate your appointment and appoint a successor guardian.
Additional or updated Letters can be purchased for $1.00 each at the Probate Division, 515 5th Street, NW, Room 314, Washington, DC 20001, or ordered by mail. To order by mail, complete the Copy Request Form and mail with check payable to “Register of Wills.”
File a motion for an extension of time before the filing deadline or a motion for an enlargement of time if the filing deadline has passed. A Pro Se Motion form is available on this website. The motion must state how much additional time is needed and the reasons why additional time is needed.
Letters are valid until the guardianship or conservatorship is terminated; however, some organizations and/or institutions may require Letters to be updated or recertified if they are more than 60 days old.
Generally, Letters are issued within two business days of the filing of the Acceptance and Consent and bond (if required).
The guardian must visit the ward once a month unless the Court orders otherwise.
It depends upon the person’s relationship to the case and the kind of hearing that is being held. The ward, guardian, or conservator should attend unless counsel advises them not to do so. Hearing notices are sent to all persons interested in a proceeding so that they are kept informed of the progress of the proceeding. If the person who receives the notice has information important to the proceeding, that person should attend and present the information to the Court.
All guardians and successor guardians appointed in INT cases on or after July 1, 2009 must file a Guardianship Plan within 90 days of appointment.
If a ward has disappeared suddenly, the disappearance should be reported to the police. If the ward has been missing a long time, a report may not be necessary. Consult your counsel regarding the choices that are best for your situation.
A guardian has a legal duty to act in the ward’s interests to ensure that the ward receives the care that the ward needs and lives in an environment that is appropriate for the ward’s needs. At times, performing this duty involves taking actions for the ward’s best interests that the ward will not like. Sometimes, a petition post appointment can be filed when there is a need to settle a dispute between the guardian and the ward.
No, both co-guardians should be working together for the welfare of the ward and should sign one report if possible.
If the ward and the guardian have moved to another state, the Court will terminate the intervention proceeding (1) when a petition post appointment to terminate intervention proceeding is filed here and approved by the Court or (2) when a petition post appointment to transfer the guardianship or conservatorship to another state is filed and granted by the Court.
The powers and duties of a guardian are set forth at DC Code, sec. 21-2047 and in the Specific Instructions to Guardians and Guardianship Information Sheet.
Letters of conservatorship are evidence of the transfer of all assets of a ward (or the assets specified in the Letters) to the conservator. Letters of guardianship are evidence that a guardian has been appointed who has the authority to make medical decisions, health care decisions, quality of life decisions, and legal decisions for the ward.
If the guardian is unable to perform the duties of a guardian, the Court should be notified immediately by the filing of a Petition Post Appointment pursuant to Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 322 to appoint a successor guardian. If the guardian dies, a Notice of Death should be filed, and a Petition Post Appointment for the appointment of a successor should be filed.
Court costs are paid with the first account. Additional costs may be owed with subsequent accounts if additional assets are received.
If something needs to be done for the ward and the authority to do it is in doubt, review the Findings of Fact or the order of appointment to see if either document specifically allows what needs to be done or specifically prohibits it. If the Findings or the order of appointment do not provide any guidance, review the powers set forth at DC Code, sec. 21-2047 for guidance. If there is still a question about authority to act, consider filing a petition post appointment requesting permission or instructions from the Court.
The date that the Findings of Fact or order of appointment is docketed is the official date of appointment; however, Letters are not issued until the guardian files an Acceptance and Consent and, when a conservator is appointed, a bond.
A Guardianship Plan, Report of Guardian, inventory, or account must be filed by the statutory deadline. When any of these documents has not been filed by the statutory deadline, a hearing is scheduled. Once a hearing is scheduled, the guardian or conservator must attend, even if the item is filed, and the Probate Division judges expect the party who filed the item late to be present at the hearing.
District of Columbia law requires a bond for the protection of the assets of the ward. In general, a conservator must be able to qualify for a bond that covers all the assets of the ward plus one year’s income.
The Court has the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of each ward. A Report of Guardian must be filed every six months from the date of appointment as guardian so that the Court is kept informed of the ward’s medical status, residence, and general condition for the protection of the ward. The filing of such reports is required by the applicable District of Columbia law and is a condition of appointment as a guardian.
Five. Additional Letters are available for $1 each.
Bond is a type of insurance. A guardian appointed by the Court must purchase a bond in an amount of the assets that the guardian will be holding plus one year’s income. If the guardian misappropriates the money, the bonding company will pay the money back up to the amount of the bond.